David Cameron’s problem. Is it John Key’s problem too?

David Cameron has a problem, he has no Willie Whitelaw:

Margaret Thatcher knew what a political leader needed to avoid the kind of foul-ups that bedevil the Coalition Government almost every week. “Every prime minister needs a Willie,” she proclaimed.

Lady Thatcher’s Willie (Whitelaw) was charming, hospitable and delightfully dotty. Once, when a jobsworth tried to stop him walking on land designated as a site of special scientific interest “by the government”, Willie protested grandly: “I am the government.” Visiting a prison workshop, he asked the inmates what they were doing. One was sewing mail bags. “Very good,” said Willie. “Carry on.” Another was painting signs. “Excellent,” said Willie. “Carry on.” A third told him: “I’m doing 20 years for manslaughter.” Willie did not miss a beat. “Jolly good,” he cried. “Carry on.”

Yet behind the veneer of old bufferdom, Whitelaw was a shrewd and ruthless political operator. An expert in scenting trouble, he knew how to persuade, cajole or knock ministerial heads together to ensure that policies were clear and that everyone who mattered was signed up to them. David Cameron’s problem is that he has no Willie – and little prospect of finding one. As a result, his Government lacks coherence to an extent that is quite frightening and which guarantees further shambolic failures.

Willie Whitelaw was a top bloke, but this interesting story suggests some questions in New Zealand politics.

Who would be John Key’s version of Willie Whitelaw?

Is it Steven Joyce? Or perhaps Judith Collins, or even Tony Ryall?


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  • Zephyr Cobalt

    At first I thought John Key does not have a willie. But the more I think about it, the more I am sure that he calls his willie, Steven Joyce. Though, at times, Steven can be a bit hard, in which case he becomes a stiff willie. Some say Judith Collins would love to be a willie but I don’t think it would become her. She’s more a wanton willie.

    Helen Clark had a number of willies and David Shearer has tried to pinch a few. But you will notice that HC does not want to let them go. Sometimes I’m sure I can hear one of her willies screaming all the way from Afghanistan. Generally though, now days, her willies have become limp and uninspiring.

    The Maori Party had a willie but they cut him off. And ever since then the Maori Party have been trying to please everyone or anyone but in reality have nothing to offer. They are now trying hard to be a gigolo without a willie.

    Rumour has it they Winston Peters is trying to find a willie. And Michael Laws has stood to attention but who knows … willie or wontee?

    And the Greens don’t give toss about willies cause they are more focussed on their fannies.

    OMG it must be Friday afternoon.

  • peterwn

    Does not need to be a MP. Helen Clark had Heather Simpson. James Bews-Hair could be a viable possibility if he could be persuaded to waka hop his political outlook.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    John Key’s problems will all be solved by the best Willie of all – “Sheep Shearer”

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Whale Oil & Tories – The latest rouge Morgan poll is out.

    According to this poll –
    “Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a rise in support for Prime Minister John
    Key’s National Party to 43.5% (up 2% since September 24 — October 7,
    2012). Support for Key’s Coalition partners shows the Maori Party 3.5%
    (up 2%), ACT NZ 0.5% (unchanged) and United Future 0% (down 0.5%).

    Support for Labour is 29% (down 4.5%); Greens are 13% (down 0.5%), New Zealand First 7.5% (up 1%), Mana Party 0.5% (up 0.5%), Conservative Party of NZ 2% (unchanged) and Others 0.5% (unchanged).

    If a National Election were held today this New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll says a Labor/ Greens/ New Zealand First Coalition would be likely to form government.”

    So the equation is very simple. If Winnie The Poo’s party sinks under 5%, Emperor and his cronies are assured of a third term which will keep the lunatic Greens out in the opposition for another 3 years and my prediction is that the party will start to disintegrate. Please God, let this happen….

  • 2ndAmendment

    Key hasn’t got a “WIllie Whitelaw”.

    Thatcher had Willie. Hellen had H2. The BBC has Malcolm Tucker. Hated and feared, much more on the inside than on the outside. A human embodiment of a spine. Key hasn’t got anyone.